Daily Lessons From the 12 Steps

What 12 Step Programs Bring 

Nearly every 12-step group in existence is modeled on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935. While the steps have been instrumental in the recovery of millions over the last 80-plus years, they’re not just for overcoming addictions or compulsive behaviors. We are told in recovery that the steps offer “a design for living.” Following are the 12 steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over [addiction or compulsive behavior] – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11.  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [addicts], and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What They Teach Us

The steps teach us, first and foremost, to be honest, open-minded, and willing; these qualities are embodied in Step 12: “… and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” That means we are rigorously honest with everyone we encounter on a daily basis, including the public. If, for example, a store clerk hands us too much change, we go back and return it. We also don’t tell “little white lies,” or embellish the truth to make ourselves look better.

Being open-minded is not just for matters pertaining to our Higher Power; it means we see the value in everyone we meet, even when we don’t like what they have to say. People are flawed, but inherently good, and no one person is more valuable or worthy than any other person. Therefore, we “seek first to understand, and then to be understood.”

We strive to become willing: Willing to listen, willing to share, willing change, willing to accept, willing to give, willing to love, and willing to be loved in return. We resist the urge to say, “No, never” about anything, with the exception of doing harm to others. Finally, we try always to remember that not everyone has a program of recovery, so we lead by the power of example.

The Lakehouse Treatment Center understands the worlds of active addiction and active recovery. Years of comprehensive experience have helped us build a unique program focused on changing lives and rebuilding families. From detox to sober living, The Lakehouse program focuses on learning how to live and have fun again- a treatment experience like no other. Call us anytime: 877.762.3707


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